For immediate release
January 8, 2007
Lean Manufacturing Techniques and Exceptional Quality Keep Factory Competitive With Overseas Labor and Allows Quick Turnaround of Fine Tailored Men's Jackets and Trousers
NEW YORK, N.Y. – January 8, 2006 – JA Apparel Corp. announced today it has opened a new distribution center at its New Bedford, Massachusetts factory, re-affirming the Company’s commitment to its unionized U.S. workforce as it builds on the continuing success of the Joseph Abboud lifestyle brand.
Marty Staff, President and Chief Executive Officer of JA Apparel, said the Company’s revitalized Joseph Abboud brand and strong business momentum has been aided by the fine tailored men’s jackets and trousers that are made at the New Bedford plant. Staff said the close proximity to the manufacturing facility allows Joseph Abboud to quickly respond to the needs of large retailers and smaller specialty stores, providing an important advantage in an industry now dominated by “fast fashion.”
Mr. Staff said: “Historically it can take as long as 12 weeks to make a fine tailored men’s suit, particularly if labor is being done overseas. But our workers are beginning to embrace our ‘Lean Manufacturing’ techniques and we continue to find ways to shorten the amount of time it takes to manufacture our suits and deliver them to retailers and customers. The New Bedford facility helps ensure that we are responding rapidly to the needs of our customers, which gives us a unique competitive advantage. This factory is really the heart of our company.”
‘Lean Manufacturing’ is a process originally begun in Japan at companies like Toyota Motor Corp. The goal of the process is to eliminate waste and promote efficiency by empowering workers to learn a variety of separate skills and achieve goals in a collective fashion.
The new distribution center trims the time it takes to manufacture and ship suits by 7 days. This is particularly important in the fast-growing Personal Style Systemâ„¢ segment of the business, where men can order custom ‘made to measure’ suits from Joseph Abboud through large retailers and specialty stores. Custom suits ordered through the Personal Style Systemâ„¢ can now be made and shipped in as little 7 days.
Mr. Staff said: “The consumer rules. He wants what he wants when he wants it, and he wants it gift-wrapped with a smile. We have to be responsive to today’s market.”
As many as 1,200 suit jackets and 950 pairs of trousers are made each day at the New Bedford factory, which is the exclusive producer of Joseph Abboud suits, sportcoats, and dress trousers for the U.S. market. The success of the Joseph Abboud brand has driven stronger demand for the fine tailored jackets and trousers made at the factory. About 90 new jobs have been added in the past year, bringing the total number of unionized workers at the factory to about 520, said Anthony Sapienza, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corp.
Mr. Sapienza said: “The fact that we have so many new workers in the last year tells me we are on to something good here. I’m proud of the way our unionized workforce in New Bedford has stepped up to answer the challenges posed by cheap overseas labor and is helping to rebuild the apparel industry in its historic home in New England.”
Bruce S. Raynor, General President of UNITE HERE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) said the unionized workers at the New Bedford plant are pleased to see that their partnership with JA Apparel is prospering.
Mr. Raynor said: “The success story of the New Bedford plant, and the partnership between UNITE HERE and JA Apparel, should inspire business leaders who question their competitiveness in their industry using domestic, union labor. We are pleased to have this opportunity to show how union workers can compete with overseas labor on quality and on price.”
Historically the factory has performed contract work for a variety of men’s and women’s manufacturers and retailers. In 2004, the factory, formerly known as Riverside Manufacturing Corp., was renamed Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corp.
JA APPAREL CORP.
The Joseph Abboud Brand embodies sophisticated American style for traditional menswear. Joseph Abboud brand instills confidence through tailored collections and unique sportswear that are crafted from the world’s finest fabrics and defined by superior fit, exceptional quality and remarkable luxurious style. Since its inception in 1987, the brand has grown into a $400 million worldwide retail lifestyle brand with an expanding number of products in the following categories including men’s apparel and accessories, boy’s apparel, and home furnishings. Joseph Abboud brand names include Joseph Abboud, Joseph Abboud Jeans Inc., JOE Joseph Abboud, Joseph Abboud BOYS, and Joseph Abboud Home. Joseph Abboud branded products are available in superior department stores and specialty stores throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Indonesia.
For JA Apparel Corp.: Chris Mumma Robinson Lerer & Montgomery 646-805-2805 [email protected]
For UNITE HERE:
Amanda Cooper Press Secretary, UNITE HERE 212-332-9376 [email protected]